Dengue outbreaks blamed for depletion of donated blood supply

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The Red Cross in Queensland has issued an urgent call for blood donors to come forward as the collection of blood has been restricted in Dengue-affected areas.

As the Dengue fever outbreaks in Cairns and Townsville claim more victims each day, Queensland blood stocks have become depleted - in Cairns and Townsville more than 150 people have been diagnosed with the mosquito-borne disease.

Rebecca Cook from the Red Cross Blood Service says the collection of blood has been restricted in Dengue-affected areas because the red cells cannot be used and along with the platelets have to be discarded and only the plasma can be used.

Ms Cook says this has created a 14% deficit on both of those components across the state and people are needed to donate blood now.

Operations manager for the Queensland blood service, Tony Bourke says the Dengue outbreaks meant 750 donations a week normally collected in Cairns and Townsville would need to be made up elsewhere in the state.

It is the red blood cells which carry oxygen and they are important for transfusions in open-heart surgery and for people experiencing severe bleeding - platelets are important in blood clotting and in fighting infection and are used mainly in the treatment of cancer.

Willing blood donors are urged to make an appointment by phoning 13 14 95 or finding the local blood donor centre.


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